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Patient Forum (PAF)  - Terms of Reference

Patient Advocacy Forum visit
Patient Advocacy Forum - ward


  • The Patient Forum is an autonomous group of volunteers who act as a ‘Critical Friend’ providing valuable feedback and opinions on services provided by the hospital from a patient and public perspective that help shape improvements to the overall patient experience. 
  • The PAF work within the Joint Working Protocol as agreed with the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust (the Trust), Health watch and Warwickshire North CCG (WNCCG). 
  • The PAF will operate under the auspices of the Members Advocacy Panel (MAP), be accountable to the MAP and will report to them of their progress on a quarterly basis. 

Aims and Objectives

  • The PAF will monitor and review the health care services provided by the Trust by gathering the views of patients, carers and the public about those services and formulating reports with recommendations to the Trust based on their findings. 


  • The number of members will be agreed by the PAF; 
  • All members should sign up and become part of the hospital’s membership base;
  • All potential PAF members must go through the volunteer application process which includes undergoing a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service), appropriate health checks, attendance at the Trust’s induction programme etc;
  • Members must be able to work positively as part of a team and be good communicators;
  • All members should respect confidentiality and uphold the principles of the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS) by showing impartiality to any issue relating to gender, ethnicity, disability etc;
  • Applicants for membership will be interviewed and approved by PAF, and if accepted will commence a probationary period of 6 months;
  • An initial membership of one year will be applied to all PAF members – see also evaluation and review at 4 below
  • The PAF may co-opt, where it is deemed appropriate, other persons having useful knowledge or  experience;
  • From time to time the PAF may also set up sub groups within the PAF;
  • Any reasonable out of pocket expenses will be refunded in accordance with the Trust’s Volunteer Policy.  Claims should be on the appropriate form and submitted to the PAF for countersignature by the Chair;
  • Members failing to attend more than 3 consecutive monthly meetings without acceptable explanation may be asked for their resignation.

Evaluation and Review: 

  • PAF Members: All members will be invited to attend to an informal annual review with the Chair and Vice Chair(s) to discuss their work within the PAF over the preceding year and a look forward to the year ahead.  The Chair and Vice Chair(s) will have their review carried out by a Non-Exec/Exec lead or the Chairman of the Trust. 
  • New Members: On a three and six monthly basis a review of progress of all new members will take place, where either party can advise on their suitability to the Role and integration to the work of PAF.
  • PAF Activity:   The activity of the PAF will be monitored annually by the MAP and the PAF will produce a brief resume of its year’s work in order that this can be included in the MAP’s annual report.


  • A Chair and 1 or 2 Vice Chairs will be elected from within PAF on a bi-annual basis; 
  • A nominated Non-Executive Director of the Trust will act as a Link Director to the PAF will attend meetings quarterly and be the arbiter in any disputes; 
  • The Trust will appoint an officer who will act as liaison between the PAF and the Trust who will provide secretarial support at each meeting. 

6.0        Roles and Responsibilities

  • The role of the Chair is to chair meetings of the PAF and to manage the affairs of the PAF.  The role of the Vice Chair(s) is to support the Chair and deputise in their absence.  Neither Chair nor Vice Chair(s) have any devolved authority in decision making on behalf of the PAF unless in situations requiring immediate action, which should then be presented for ratification with PAF at the earliest convenience. 
  • Members should always be aware that they represent the PAF and should refrain from any action that could bring the PAF (and potentially the Trust) into disrepute.  Before embarking on any such undertaking, members should inform the PAF in order to ascertain the appropriateness of their intentions.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the member being asked for their resignation. 

Likewise, all members should declare all activities undertaken at, or associated with, the Trust, whether or not on behalf of the PAF.
7.0        Meetings

  • The PAF will meet monthly; 
  • Extraordinary meetings may be called by the Chair, or agreed at the regular meetings; 
  • Meetings will be deemed quorate when the Chair (or Vice Chair) and 5 other members are present; 
  • All PAF members will sign up to and adhere to the Trust’s ‘Guide to Etiquette at Meetings’ (see appendix 1); 
  • The Trust will provide a room and refreshments for meetings; 
  • The minutes of each meeting will be distributed to all PAF members and, after approval for accuracy at the next meeting, will become public documents and distributed as deemed appropriate.  A copy will be sent to WNCCG. 

8.0        Work Plan

  • The PAF will develop and agree an annual work plan based on requests, or evidence gathered from within the hospital or otherwise. The plan will be shared with the Trust and an Executive Director(s) assigned to each work stream. 

9.0        Terms of Reference

  • These terms of reference will be reviewed annually.  Once reviewed and agreed by PAF they will be signed off by the Chair of PAF. 

Terms of reference updated January 2015 (pdf)